VIVA True Stories - There's nothing like a holiday in your own home
VIVA Customers: Ted & Pat Perry - Where and what they bought: Apartment in Arenal Golf, Benalmádena - Their dream: A holiday home for the family to enjoy
"Like most people who decide to buy a property abroad, we had been visiting Spain for quite some time on holiday and enjoyed the friendly relaxed atmosphere, the warm sunshine, the diverse and ever-changing scenery of inland Spain and the interesting history of the country. It was this aspect of the Spanish culture, rather than the warm sandy beaches, that made us want to spend more time in the country than just two weeks break whenever we could get away.
"We did do quite a lot of research before deciding just where we would like to buy a property. We went to several exhibitions in the UK to learn about what was on offer and to ask any questions we had regarding such mundane things as pensions, medical entitlements, taxes and so on."
We did do quite a lot of research before deciding just where we would like to buy a property. We went to several exhibitions in the UK to learn about what was on offer and to ask any questions we had regarding such mundane things as pensions, medical entitlements, taxes and so on - quite important for us as we are both in our late sixties. We travelled extensively from Barcelona to Gibraltar, but we always came back to the Costa del Sol and especially Benalmádena in particular. It's ideally located for the beach, public transport and all the main town facilities, for us it has everything.
Having made the decision of where we now needed to find out how. Being a little cautious we decided to go to a well-known local agent in the UK that we knew who also advertised Spanish properties. It was through them that we were put in touch with VIVA. We had already booked a two-week holiday in May so we made arrangements before leaving to meet up when we arrived in Spain. We were picked up from where we were staying in Mijas Costa the next morning, and here began our relationship with VIVA.
That morning was a whirl of information, sitting in VIVA's very pleasant cool offices drinking coffee - several I seem to remember! We were introduced to Alan who was to take us to look around the area. A Spanish lawyer who spoke perfect English gave us advice on anything to do with the legal side of buying a property, and a very helpful English financial advisor explained in detail all the aspects of buying in Spain and how to go about getting a mortgage if one was needed. Yes, there was a lot to take in, but after an hour or so we were much clearer as to exactly what buying a Spanish property entailed. In many ways it wasn't that different to the UK. It wasn't at all scary - a good English speaking lawyer, recommended by VIVA, came with us on the day we took over the apartment to sort out all the legal paperwork and explain what was being said and done.
Now it was time for the part we had come for, a tour of the areas we had chosen, and some we didn't know about, looking at various houses or apartments for sale. I seem to remember it only took two days exploring before we decided on a new build, completed but only just released for occupation, at Arenal Golf. It came complete with ample underground storage and parking for two cars, plus a number of swimming pools spread around the complex - both for adults and separate ones for children. There were a few minor hiccups along the way, but nothing that VIVA couldn't resolve.
We had to transfer some money from the UK out to Spain for the purchase, and a mortgage was also arranged for us. We do speak a little Spanish but are not so hot on the written side. However, we found no problems at all as everything was taken care of by our lawyer, and if she wasn't available then there was always someone else who could speak English to answer our questions. We had to return to the UK following our purchase, but we were kept updated on the progress of the sale and any forms that we had to complete were sent through on our computer, which we could download and return. Any necessary money transfers can be done safely through reputable currency exchange companies.
"Hotels are ok but there is nothing like being in your own home, wherever that might be.”
After all the buying processes had been completed and the apartment was at last ours, we still had to furnish it! We needn't have worried as we were introduced to Charlotte from the VIVA Homecare department, who has been a tremendous help in knowing the right places to go to buy things like furniture, curtains and bedding. And because we didn't have a car out in Spain she kindly took us around all the different shops, and even spoke for us if we were a bit out of our depth when trying to order things. Because it was a new building Charlotte sorted out such things as getting the water and electricity connected to the apartment in our absence, and also liaised for us with the local on-site representative if any problems came up during the takeover. This Homecare Service has been a tremendous help in getting things sorted, and also in giving us huge peace of mind.
Now that our apartment is fully furnished we and all our family and friends are looking forward to spending some happy and relaxing times there. Hotels are ok but there is nothing like being in your own home, wherever that might be.”